April 7, 2020
  • 12:59 pm Lecture 11 – Hiring and Culture, Part 2 (Patrick and John Collison, Ben Silbermann)
  • 12:58 pm Coffee Ritual of Iranian Arabs
  • 12:58 pm 001 Skincare London – The Pick microSculptor Ritual
  • 11:58 am “A Faith That Counters My Bad Habits” with Pastor Rick Warren
  • 9:59 am Coronavirus: Growing Concern Over Religious Liberty And Public Health As Holy Week Begins | NBC
Are city-dwellers rewriting religious rituals? | Liz Hingley | TEDxESSCA


Translator: Robert Tucker
Reviewer: Denise RQ This is an old ritual
made new in modern cities. At 6 a.m. one Saturday morning, I joined a group of Buddhists who I’d met on Chinese social media at a Shanghai fish market. By 10 a.m., hundreds
of the city’s inhabitants had gathered to liberate
3,000 euros worth of fish that we bought that morning. The traditional East Asian
Buddhist practice of freeing captive animals
has flourished in recent years with the rise of social media
and the ease of online money donation. Mountains of fish are now being thrown
into the city’s waterways, creating a new economy for fishermen and a sense of meaning
in a city of 25 million people. I grew up 5,700 miles away in Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK, which is now home
to over 187 different nationalities. I was the only white child
in my nursery class, and our school calendar
was rewritten with religious rituals celebrating the diverse cultural
and religious roots of my friends, and bringing new ideas, fun,
food, and art into the classroom. I grew up to be a photographer, and over the last two years, I’ve been observing
such ritual celebrations of life in the world way beyond my classroom. My journey took me to France,
Italy, Scotland, America, and in 2013, I moved to China. By the middle of 2009, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed the number of people
living in rural areas. And since then, the world
has become even more urban. Every year, an area the size of Britain
disappears under concrete. Studying how city life is changing is key to understanding
our past and our future. Today, I would like to share with you how religious rituals
are booming in Shanghai, one of the fastest-growing
cities in the world. Living in Shanghai
for the last three years, I’ve witnessed how, through ritual, people are breathing art
into sterile urban structures, and creating meaning
in the dense urban spaces. This is a Shanghai subway map in 1993; and this is it just 20 years later. It is now the largest
metro system in the world. This network exemplifies
the immense and dramatic growth of a city, and how it’s changed dramatically
its economic, geographical structure and connected its inhabitants. Shanghai is known for its economic dynamism
and architectural daring. Super Brand shopping mall
is the largest shopping mall in Asia. The Thai company that owns the mall established a Buddhist shrine
outside the front door. The passers-by who come past the mall perform rituals that bring meaning
to this sterile urban landscape. This international business area
was farmland before the 1980s. The regular rituals were said
to have improved the mall’s business. Rituals in China
are officially restricted to five: Daoism, Buddhism, Protestantism,
Catholicism, and Islam. In recent years, traditional Chinese practices
have seen a growth with the encouragement of the state, and people search for meaning
in new urban environments. I celebrated my first Chinese New Year
with the Zhang family. They laid a table of the best wine
and foods for the ancestors. Many people in China have chosen
to bring back these traditional customs after Chairman Mao
tried to stamp them out. During the Cultural Revolution, many different religious buildings
were used for other purposes, such as laundries or hospitals. Today, the re-established
Shanghai Daoist Institute is one of the three
learning centers in China. The 50 students from rural areas
around Shanghai study for six hours a day and meditate in a specially ventilated
and climate-controlled room. Despite religions in China
being officially restricted to five, alternative spiritualities,
popular beliefs, and practices, as well as unofficial expressions
of the same five recognized religions, are all flourishing,
bringing new experience to city-dwellers. Easter 2016 – I joined, in the Russian consulate,
the Orthodox community which is not an official
religion in China. This is the first time that both Chinese and foreigners
were allowed to attend. Throughout Shanghai’s rich history, migrants from China and afar
have brought new ideas that weave into the urban fabric. On the coldest day in Shanghai
for over 40 years, last year, I joined a group of migrant workers to eat a bowl of hot soup
after the Protestant service that there was held in a factory. The dedication to their faith,
and commitment to the community, as well as the promise
of a hearty bowl of noodle soup, fueled them to stand for two hours
in minus eight degrees. The new Shanghai Disneyland development meant that the factory
would soon be destroyed, and the community
was looking for a new factory to hold their services in. Rituals show how in urban spaces
people are infusing meaning despite when space is constantly
destroyed, rebuilt, and repurposed. Pastor Dai is 99. She’s the oldest woman priest in Shanghai. In 1981, she was the first woman
to be ordained in the city. Pastor Dai’s one-room home
next to the church is full of most of her life’s possessions. It is a place of regular
gathering and feasting. The meetings in her room
preserve the whole history she is part of and inspire young followers. Fu Shou Yuan is one
of the main cemeteries in Shanghai. The company that owns and maintains it
is listed on the Hong Kong stock market. A tall tower in the middle of the cemetery
houses rooms and rooms upon cabinets that are sold at a high price
to contain people’s ancestors’ ashes. At the main Chinese festivals, people bring ornaments
and food for the ancestors that are represented in each cabinet
by a photographic portrait. Rituals are at the heart
of what it means to be human: they mark the passing of time
and bring art to everyday life. They often allow us
to express without words, just as photography
transmits through images. Ritual – the passing of ritual
from country to country, enables newcomers to make home. In a luxurious compound,
Indian women take it in turns to host celebrations of the major
Hindu festivals in their apartments. The community chose this compound due to its close proximity
to the Huangpu River. Here Hindus say their daily prayers
to this majestic view, mirroring the pivotal role of
the holy Ganges river to Hindus in India. Indian yogis lead a fire ceremony
for Chinese devotees on Chongming Island. The growth of yoga
has encouraged many different Chinese to follow different practices
such as this. Rituals have enabled the transmission
of various faiths and ideas throughout this huge city
throughout its history. New and old practices
are unfolding side-by-side for the very first time
alongside each other. Based on long-standing roots, new spiritual practice is growing
in the dense urban spaces that are home to most
of the world’s population. What I’ve discovered on my journey
from Birmingham to Shanghai is that people are helping
to make our super-diverse cities a web of creative communities. From the fish market to the factory, Shanghai’s residents
are transforming the urban experience. Rituals reflect contemporary life,
desires, and fashions. They enable new ideas
and traditions to be passed from country to country
and from generation to generation. They introduce new ideas,
breakdown cultural and social boundaries, and carve out private, sacred space
in the flux of everyday life. Thank you. (Applause)

Jean Kelley

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